California Water Science Center

Surface Water

Streams, rivers, lakes and reservoirs - collectively referred to as surface water - are important natural resources for irrigation, public supply, wetlands and wildlife. Surface water is also measured as annual runoff, which is the amount of rain and snowmelt drainage left after the demands of nature, evaporation from land, and transpiration from vegetation have been supplied. It supplies most of our basic water needs.

Filter Total Items: 114
Date published: December 11, 2018
Status: Completed

Suspended-Solids Concentrations in San Francisco Bay, California

Suspended solids are an important component of San Francisco Bay, California (USA) because they transport adsorbed toxic substances, provide habitat for benthic organisms, limit light availability and photosynthesis, and deposit in ports and waterways which require dredging. The U.S. Geological Survey has established a network of eight sites in San Francisco Bay at which suspended-solids...

Date published: December 11, 2018
Status: Completed

San Francisco Bay Wetlands Priority Ecosystem Studies

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service's (USFWS) San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge manages wildlife at a number of salt ponds that the Cargill Corporation currently operates for salt production. A number of these ponds probably will be purchased by the USFWS. With acquisition, the USFWS will be responsible for maintenance or restoration of thousands of hectares of wetlands, an extremely...

Date published: December 10, 2018
Status: Completed

Impact of Climate Change on Future Suitability of the Sierra Nevada for Wolverines

The endeavor to ensure a viable population of the threatened wolverine to the mountains of the requires the characterization of suitable habitat.

Date published: December 10, 2018
Status: Completed

Exploring: Reservoir Capacity And Sedimentation Of The Fena Valley Reservoir Guam

The Fena Valley Reservoir, located in southern Guam, is the primary source of water for the United States Naval Base Guam and nearby village residents. At full capacity, the reservoir surface area extends approximately 0.30 mi2, and drains a watershed area of about 5.88 mi2.  After reservoir construction, periodic bathymetric surveys, coupled with sedimentation models, ...

Date published: December 10, 2018
Status: Completed

Source, distribution, and management of perchlorate in water from wells in the upper Santa Ana River basin, California

Perchlorate (ClO4-), a commercially produced oxidizer used in solid propellants, has contaminated public-supply wells in parts of the upper Santa Ana River basin. Both industrial and agricultural sources of perchlorate are present within the basin. 

Contacts: John Izbicki
Date published: December 10, 2018
Status: Active

Surrogate Monitoring of Sediment Transport using Hydrophones along the San Joaquin River and Tributaries

Traditional methods for measuring coarse bedload sediment transport by discrete physical sampling tend to be labor intensive and expensive (Gray and others, 2010). As such, bedload samples often are collected too infrequently to capture the temporal variability inherent in transport rates, which can vary significantly, sometimes by a factor of ten or more, over time periods of...

Date published: December 10, 2018
Status: Active

Forecasting Total Dissolved Solids Concentrations of Groundwater from the Lower Colorado Water Supply Project

The All-American Canal (AAC) in southern Imperial County, California, has historically been unlined, resulting in substantial losses to seepage. In 2006, the Imperial Irrigation District (IID), under a contract with the United States Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation), initiated a project to build a concrete-lined canal parallel to 23 miles of the earthen AAC. Construction was completed in...

Date published: December 10, 2018
Status: Completed

Trends in Dissolved Organic Carbon (DOC) in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta

Water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta contains high concentrations of disinfection byproduct-forming (DBP-forming) materials when treated for potable use. DBPs form when dissolved organic compounds (DOC) in water react with disinfectants such as chlorine and ozone during the water treatment process. The amount of DBPs that form is a function of both the amount and source of the DOC, both...

Date published: December 10, 2018
Status: Completed

The role of the alien clam Corbicula fluminea in the regulation of organic carbon in the San Joaquin River watershed

Sources and fate of various forms of organic carbon in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta (Delta) and San Joaquin River watershed are of concern because of the importance of identifying the sources of carbon contributing to the oxygen depletion zone on the San Joaquin River near the city of Stockton, the need to understand the causes of the low primary and secondary production in the Delta, and...

Contacts: Larry Brown
Date published: December 7, 2018
Status: Completed

Pathogen Total Maximum Daily Loads Modeling in the Chino Basin

The Santa Ana River in Southern California is the primary water supply for approximately 2 million people. The main constituent of regulatory concern is pathogens that have impaired the use of waters for the beneficial uses of warm freshwater habitat and noncontact water recreation. Pathogen loadings from the tributary watershed flows into lakes and streams leading into the Santa Ana River....

Contacts: John Izbicki
Date published: December 7, 2018
Status: Completed

Processes Controlling Riverbank Filtration of Pathogens in the Russian River Basin, Sonoma County, California

The Sonoma County Water Agency (SCWA) supplies drinking water to municipalities and water districts in Sonoma and Marin Counties by diverting water from the alluvial aquifer underlying and adjacent to the Russian River. The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with SCWA, is conducting an ongoing research program on water quality conditions in the Russian River and the physical and...

Contacts: Robert Anders
Date published: December 7, 2018
Status: Active

Continuous Monitoring of Water Quality and Suspended-Sediment Transport in the San Francisco Bay and Delta

Our group at the USGS continuously monitors suspended-sediment concentration (SSC), turbidity, dissolved oxygen, temperature, salinity, and water level at many sites throughout the San Francisco Bay (Bay) and the Sacramento-San Joaquin Rivers Delta (Delta).

Our work began in 1988 to explore the spatial and temporal variability of water quality and sediment transport and to provide...